A couple of days ago I got wind that Central Market had a sale on their Mussels and I had been cultivating the idea of a mussels meal. I have never cooked Mussels in my life, always watching  my mom or grandma do it. Moving to US, it was always easier to just go to a dedicated restaurant to satisfy my cravings of seafood. But at $8.99 for 2lbs of mussels, it would have been foolish not to try my hand at it, wouldn't it?

I had MJ and Le Blanc over for dinner, and it was nice to catch up with the girls over well cooked mussels accompanied by my homemade bread (recipe to come!) and a good glass of white wine.

I used the steamed mussels with tomato and garlic broth recipe from Food & Wine to cook my mussels but ended up slightly modifying it up. I did not like the fact that there wasn't enough tomatoes in the original recipe, and also that the recipe did not really explain how long to cook the mussels. After a little bit of search, I found out that you are supposed to cook them first for 1 minute, then you have to move them around the pot with a spatula so as to enable the top mussels to go to the bottom and vice versa, and THEN you cook for another 2 minutes. Cooking them any longer will make them chewy and gummy - which is NOT what you want. So here is my adaptation of the original recipe:

Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4-5 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine 
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • 2 28-ounce cans of peeled whole tomatoes 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1/3 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes 
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded 
  • fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

If you haven't already, clean your mussels. Make sure they are tightly sealed. If there are any that are slightly open, or that do not clamp shut when tapped, discard them, as they are probably bad. Remove any algae if found and place mussels over ice. Do not keep your mussels in the refrigerator as they will die and fail to open when cooked!

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Dice your whole peeled tomatoes and add them as well as any tomato broth into the pot. Stir in the parsley, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring the sauce to a boil.

Add the mussels to the pot. Cover. Cook for a minute, shaking the pot occasionally. With a spatula turn over the mussels to enable the bottom ones to go to the top and vice versa. Cook for another 2 mintes (lid on). You should see the mussels open now. Remove the open mussels and put them in a bowl. Continue to boil, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard any that do not open. 

Pepper your tomato sauce to you liking.

When serving your mussels, place them on a plate and ladder them with hot sauce. Accompany them with a fresh loaf of bread and a glass of wine. I recommend pairing your mussels with Foodies Chardonnay

Leftover mussels can be stored for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Just keep them separate from your tomato sauce. When you want to reheat, just take the mussels out half an hour before so they can warm to room temperature and ladder it with your reheated hot tomato sauce! 


  1. This looks really delicious! Mussels are one of those seafood things that seem so daunting to me, which is a bit of a shame as Moules Frites (Mussels with french fries) is a national dish around here. You make it sound so easy though! :)

  2. I'm not a mussels eater but it looks delicious somehow :)

  3. Oh why not? Have you had a bad experience? :) Well cooked mussels are wonderful!

  4. Haha i know what you mean Kristien! I thought cooking them was like preparing a chemical solution - requires a lot of attention and little margin to error. I think that is why I made sure to do a lot of research beforehand on how to properly cook them, and to my surprise, it is probably the easiest and fastest meal you can ever make! As for Moules Frites, I haven't had the pleasure to try that. Maybe next time I have a layover in Brussels I should make it a mission to try it!


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